Oxford and Empire: Forced Migration and Colonial Legacies

refugees on a boat crossing the mediterranean sea heading from turkish coast to the northeastern greek island of lesbos 29 january

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This panel has been organised by Common Ground, Oxford, which is a student organisation in the University of Oxford that seeks to examine Oxford's colonial past, and engage with activist organisations in the city. For more information about Common Ground, see their website: https://commonground-oxford.com/

Chair: Alice Wong and Maya Dissanayake-Perera

Meera Sabaratnam, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, SOAS

Saadia Gardezi, Co-founder of Project Dastaan

Jess WallisRepresentative of STAR Oxford (Student Action for Refugees)

This event is part of the TORCH Oxford and Empire Network.

The relationship between Oxford and Empire has recently been the subject of considerable attention, both within and outside the institution, and the intersecting areas of travel and translation are ones in which Oxford has played a particularly prominent role. The University of Oxford was a leading institution for the teaching of Orientalism and Oriental languages, and the training of imperial administrators. It was also instrumental in the development of anthropology as an academic discipline. This close relationship between Oxford and Empire is embodied in the many prominent translators and travellers who have studied and worked here, including William Jones, Edwin Arnold, Max Müller, T.E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell, and Amitav Ghosh.


This series will bring together researchers in Oxford and elsewhere to foster interdisciplinary communication and a more consolidated examination of Oxford's imperial legacies. It will therefore include a diversity of scholars and students who are working in this area in different disciplines and fields.

Meera Sabaratnam is Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies. Her research concerns the colonial and postcolonial dimensions of world politics, both in theory and practice. She has recently published on the workings of the international aid system in an award-winning open access monograph Decolonising Intervention (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017), and on racism, Eurocentrism and whiteness in IR and critical pedagogy. At SOAS she has served as the Chair of the Decolonising SOAS Working Group and the Academic Senate. In the former role she has worked extensively on what it means to 'decolonise' learning and teaching and the wider university environment. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Saadia Gardezi is a journalist and political cartoonist from Pakistan. She is the co-founder of Project Dastaan, an organization that records oral histories of survivors from the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, and reconnects these survivors to their ancestral homes across the India-Pakistan-Bangladesh borders using VR and other new technologies. Project Dastaan was started in Oxford in 2018 when Saadia was a Weidenfeld-Hoffman Scholar at St Edmund Hall reading for MPhil Modern South Asian Studies. She is currently a PhD student and Chancellor's Scholar at Warwick University, UK.

Live on YouTube - you can view this event here.

To register for a reminder email with the YouTube link, click here


Other seminars in this series:

Translating Education

Oxford and the Americas

Oxford and Oriental Studies

Voyages and Voyagers

Oxford City and Empire

Forced Migration and Colonial Legacies


Oxford and Empire, TORCH Networks